Unusual features/differences from similar
Sadly born without a sense of humor, the Black Rhino is
always in a bad mood. The front horn has a rounded base whereas the base of the front
horn of White rhinoceros forma a
straight line. The upper lip is triangular while the lips of the White rhinoceros
is square and wide. The head is carried high and is short relative to the neck whereas the head
is long relative to neck and
carried low in White rhinoceros. The ears are narrower in White rhinoceros.
There is no distinct hump on the shoulders. In high rainfall areas the flanks are marked by dark bloody, patches caused by
parasitic worms which does not occur in the White rhinoceros.
Visible Male/Female Differences
Males have a thick fold of skin running down between the backs of the hind legs. Horns
tend to be longer and thinner in cows. Females have
a pair of nipples between their hind legs and often have a calf at foot.
Habitat and Distribution
Bush with permanent water. Also occurs under
Eats leaves, shoots and fruit. Twigs of up to 1 cm thick are grasped with the upper lip and
bitten off a 45° angle. Feeding height is 0.5-1.2 m but may pull down branches
with the front horn to get at high leaves.
A single calf weighing 40kg is born at any time of year after gestation of 15
months. Calves can move with the mothers after three hours, but may be left hidden in cover for the
first week. Calves start browsing after a few weeks and is weaned at about 12 months, sometimes as
late as 19 months. They stay with the mothers until 2-4 years of age when the next calf
is born. Females first calve at 6-12
years and males mature at 8 years. Potential lifespan is 30-40 years. Calves are born in heavy cover, and stay hidden for up to a week. They walk behind
their mothers whereas White rhinoceros calves
walk in front of the mother but may run in front when running. Calves are
sometimes killed by
and spotted hyenas.
Behavior and Habits
Active for half of the day and most of the night, lying in
the shade at the hottest time of day. They drink water in the afternoons and will dig for water when surface
water disappears. Females leave their calves in the undergrowth when they come
to drink avoid predators.
They enjoy wallowing
in water and mud to cool down and kill. They love rubbing on rocks, trees and termite
mounds and some "scratchpoles" are polished with age and use.
They are usually solitary unless it is a female with calf
or a male courting females. They may
form small but temporary groups. Home ranges may cover 500 sq km in arid areas and 4-7 sq km in
areas with good food. Both sexes use middens and enthusiastically kick the dung around whereas the female White rhinoceros
does not kick the dung in the midden. White rhinoceroses
and Black rhinoceroses may share the same
midden. Only mature bulls spray urine onto bushes. The sense of sight is not
good but smell and hearing are very
sensitive. They are habitually cantankerous and especially Black rhinoceros
females with calves are extremely dangerous.
Emits an explosive snort when charging. Calves also make a mewing sound.
Dung and Field sign
Neatly pruned bushes with twigs trimmed off at 45°. Distinguishable
from White Rhinoceros
track by lack of a "W" (for white rhino) formed by back of spoor. Dung contains undigested twigs with ends cut at
45°. Middens and mud smears on trees, termite mounds and rocks; polished rubbing spots
and scratch poles.